Category Archives: European

Canard in E. Burnside, Portland

Our mother-daughter date could not have been any better last Saturday night. My younger one was at a play-date (which turned into a sleep over) and my older teen daughter was fancying a posh restaurant with elegant yet casual vibes. What better way to fulfill that wish other than taking her to one of the best places in Portland?

Inside Canard, Portland, OR

Canard is owned by the same talented team as Le Pigeon, which is a French restaurant located right next door. Canard is chef Gabriel Rucker’s most casual place to dine in an elegant yet relaxed mood. The dishes in the menu are from all over the world, but mainly French-inspired. The portion, taste, delicacies, presentation…they all scream OUI in every possible way. Rightfully so, the restaurant won “Best restaurant of the year” within couple weeks of opening it in 2018. I would categorize this as a street side European-style bistro where the food is fine-dining quality. The service is as fantastic as the food and the ambiance, we barely waited 5 minutes to get to be seated and the overall service was fast and friendly.

Foie Gras Dumplings in Canard, Portland, OR

So, now to the best part…the dishes we ordered. We had half a dozen of mignonette oysters with green chili juice, their signature Garlic Fries with home-made sauce, Foie Gras Dumplings with celery root, black garlic, and orange cubes, and Thai Fried Trout with green curry guacamole that came with thinly sliced picked carrots and butter lettuce. If you are there just for snacks or drink and want to try only one item…it should be their garlic fries. This is probably the most addicting french fries I have tried so far which is perfectly cut, infused with garlic flavor, seasoned with the right amount of herbs, and fried for the right amount of time. The oysters were fresh and small, but the hint of the chili sauce added a delicious kick. For Foie Gras dumpling, I have never tried it before even after living in Belgium for few years. The ones in Canard were not only creamy and flavorful but also it managed to prove my skepticism about foie gras. Black garlic with the dumplings were just small pieces of savory heaven in that bowl…something I’ve never tried before either. Another main entree, Thai Fried Trout, was crunchy outside, yet soft and moist inside…not greasy at all. Every piece of trout in the bowl was aromatic and classy. Finally, to the finish the meal, we had one order of Paris Brest to share. This was probably a regret there and we should not have ordered it after eating all those above. It was fantastic with cookies & cream and chocolate sauce. But the size and consistency didn’t work well, since we were already too full.

Thai Fried Trout in Canard, Portland, OR

Overall, we had an excellent experience here. This is a great place for date, to hang out with friends or colleagues or for girls night out. But I wouldn’t bring small kids here…I don’t think my 10-year old would have appreciated this place or its food to the fullest. You will get the oysters for half the price if you come here during happy hour. Next time, I got to try the next door sister restaurant, La Pigeon to see what the hype about is about this place. Plan to park parallel on nearby streets when you want to come here.

Our dessert – Paris Brest at Canard, Portland, OR

La Moule – Belgian Style Dinner in SE Portland

La Moule was in my bucket list for a while, especially since I started blogging on Portland restaurants. We lived in Belgium for 3 years and unfortunately never went to a brasserie. We tried French, Dutch, German food…but never really a true Belgian dish or even the national dish, mussels. In case you didn’t know, Belgium shares its border with France, The Netherlands, and Germany. Therefore, its culture is a great combination of all those 3 countries, especially when it comes to cuisine.

La Moule in SE Portland, OR

My daughters and I were in La Moule on a Saturday night and made a reservation beforehand on that day. If you are taking someone below 21 years of age, like me, it’s better to go there way before 10pm. They don’t allow minors after 10pm. We weren’t told that when made the reservation for 8:45pm and had to rush to finish it before 10pm. Also, keep in mind, street parking is the only option when you are coming this part of the town.

 2 Baguette plates for appetizers in La Moule in SE Portland, OR

La Moule is a French inspired artsy bar and bistro located in a small SE Portland neighborhood. This European restaurant has both indoor and patio/outdoor sitting with an eclectic and cozy environment. With its Belgian style frites (fries), national dish mussels/moules, and Liege waffles in the menu, this is a true Belgian brasserie you can experience in Portland, OR. The menu is short, but everything we tried tasted elegant and flavorful. You can find few different kinds of mussels bowls here. But if you are not into seafood, they have steak, burgers, and other seafood dishes.

Basil Spatzle in La Moule in SE Portland, OR

Now, for our dishes, we ordered baguettes with fancy butter and confited garlic and chicken liver mousse with dijon mustard and pickles. Everything was great in these appetizer plates. If you are not a big fan of liver (or chicken liver), I won’t suggest it for you…it does have a slight aftertaste of liver that my kids couldn’t handle. For main dish, we had Basil Spatzle and Puttanesca moules/mussels. Basil spatzle/spaetzle was a German style pasta dish with corns, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried capers, oysters and lobster. The proportion was perfect for one person and it was very good…sans the corns. This was my young daughter’s favorite one here. I loved the Puttanesca mussels in tomato sauce, anchovy, capers with olive, lemon zest, and basil. Dipping my baguette in the tomato sauce brought back some memories from Europe.  To finish off, we had Liege Belgian waffles with cinnamon, sugar, and cream on top.

 Puttanesca moules/mussels in La Moule in SE Portland, OR

This was a great culinary experience in a buzzy neighborhood which is already loaded with some other great eateries. But I felt I would only bring people here who have pure elegant and adventurous tongue to try these dishes.

Liege waffle with cinnamon and sugar in La Moule in SE Portland, OR


Kachka – Russian Style Dining

When was the last time you went to a restaurant that is perfect in every aspect? If you haven’t experienced that recently, then you should check out Kachka in Portland. Kachka is a very popular Russian/Ukranian restaurant or maybe the only one of its kind here worth trying out.

Inside Kachka in Portland
Inside Kachka in Portland

Last week we had our annual company kick-off. Thursday was the team-dinner with all of our on-site and remote colleagues. We all met up at Kachka after work in the evening and for me, this was the first time there.

From outside, Kachka may not look all that fancy. But it does have a modern office-type brick and glass exterior. Once I was inside, it looked very opposite from it’s outer look. Interior was fancier with more colors, had loud music, closely arranged tables, and cheerful customers. The waitress who was serving us was very friendly, polite, answered my questions very patiently, and even suggested some items to try.

Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland
Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland

We were eight of us and if I am not mistaking, we ordered about 7 or 8 different types of appetizers to start with. The best part was that we all tried and shared little bit from each plate. And I am not lying a bit, every single appetizer that I’ve tried was made to perfection. Some appetizers you must try here are the herring “under a fur coat”, imerulian khachapuri (smoked cheese wrapped in a crunchy dough), variety of dumplings…especially the sour cherry dumplings, assorted pickled vegetables, and Uzbek-style brindza bread with sheep cheese spread.

Herring "under a fur coat" at Kachka in Portland
Herring “under a fur coat” at Kachka in Portland

For the main course, I had chicken skewer. And again…another tasty kebab dish that came with shredded carrot salad. The dish doesn’t come with any carbs which may seem small for some people. But for me, since I had the opportunity to taste multiple kinds of appetizers…the size was perfect for me.

My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland
My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland

I’ve been telling all my friends in Portland to try Kachka. I loved their food, customer service, atmosphere, decoration, and everything. I still crave their pickled vegetables and sour cherry dumplings…sooo good. This is a place where I would bring someone near and dear to my heart to treat them in a special place…this is how much I loved this place.

Can Font – Catalan dishes in Pearl District

Can Font was my first Spanish restaurant to try in Portland and the experience was beyond my expectation. After searching for a while where to eat with some girl friends on a Saturday night, Can Font caught my eyes; and a reservation thru OpenTable was made immediately.

The restaurant opened back in the summer of 2017 and is located in the heart of Pearl District, a culinary corner of Portland. The original Can Font restaurant is located few miles out of Barcelona in Spain and this is their second branch, right in our backyard. This is a place to find modern and authentic Spanish cuisine where the chef himself is from Barcelona. With a Catalonia root, the main focus of this place is paella, seafood, and Mediterranean flavors.

Inside Can Font in Pearl District, Oregon
Inside Can Font in Pearl District, Oregon

The table was ready as soon as we got there and our server, who was very professional and knowledgeable about the dishes, sat us down and went over all the specials and some of their best items in the menu. As soon as you walk in a big mural of Gaudi’s edifice on one of the walls. From the lightnings to furniture to overall character of this restaurant…I felt like I was sitting in a restaurant in Barcelona. If you have a reservation, try to come a bit early, since street parking and garage are the only options if you drive here…you may have to drive around a bit.

Ok, so…for dinner, we had to get some tapas and the main course. But don’t get scared looking at the prices here…you are paying for fresh and local Pacific Northwest produce. We decided to try few of their tapas and order one paella for all of us to share. Here are three tapas that we ordered: Filet a L’Allet Amb Patates Braves (filet mignon, potatoes, brava sauce, garlic chips), beef tenderloin tartare with chips (which was slightly cooked, I first thought it was raw beef paste, and octopus with beef tongue in tomato sauce (forgot the name). I don’t know what you are thinking of these dishes where we ate almost raw beef and beef tongue…but this is where you know the chef really knows what he/she is doing when they can bring these uncommon and rare food with such delicacy and flavors. I loved them all, especially the beef tartare…it melts in your mouth. 

Top left - octopus and beef tongue, top right - potato bravas, and bottom - beef tenderloin tartare in Can Font, Oregon
Top left – octopus and beef tongue, top right – potato bravas, and bottom – beef tenderloin tartare in Can Font, Oregon

For paella, we had Arros Negre which was cooked in squid ink with fish of the day, cuttlefish, clams, mussels, shrimps and a side of alioli. This is one of the signature dish of Barcelona and was made to perfection in Can Font. With squid ink, the dish may not look all appealing, but couple of my friends who aren’t big fan of seafood…they even liked it. By the time we came to desserts, all of their items were gone, except for Crema Catalan…a Spanish Crème brûlée…another delightful item.

Paella in Squid ink with seafood in Can Font, Pearl District, Oregon
Paella in Squid ink with seafood in Can Font, Pearl District, Oregon

There you go…I’ve just dined in one of the top Spanish restaurants in Portland (and Barcelona) and if you love food adventure, this restaurant should be in your bucket list. If you are ready to spend some good money, bring in your loved ones and enjoy an evening here.